The Skyhawk View

February 2021 Volume 4, Issue 1

Issue Table of Contents

Faculty Feature: Survivor playlists

SVCC professor Kevin Megill
SVCC professor Kevin Megill

By Kevin Megill

One of my hobbies is Survivor Playlists. 

I stole the idea from my daughter. About five years ago, she posted a Facebook request for all her friends to give her one song they wanted her to hear. She compiled them into one big playlist and started listening through the list repeatedly. Each time she got through the entire list, she’d eliminate one of the songs. 

The submitter of the last song standing won bragging rights. 

My daughter got to hear a lot of new music. 

I’ve been doing the same thing recently and I love it. It’s a great way to get exposed to music I would never have listened to otherwise. 

I get complicated with my playlists, because that’s the kind of person I am. I look up all the lyrics and read them carefully. I put all the songs in a big excel spreadsheet and rank them each round in pairs against each other.  I collect stats.

Each time I eliminate a song, I post a blurb explaining what I liked about it. I think people like following my posts to see what I’ll say about their songs. 

Most of my playlists have themes, such as songs about summer or songs with good female vocalists. 

Left on my own, I listen to jazz or 70s soft rock, but my contributors expose me to other genres. Two always give me metal (my favorite is the ridiculously campy Dragula, by Rob Zombie), while another gives me blues songs. A teacher at Sauk (can you guess who?) regularly submits country. Other popular genre choices are Broadway tunes and video game music. 

I’ve been surprised at some of the music I liked. It turns out I’m a big Panic! at the Disco fan. I mentioned to a philosophy class one year that a Billie Eilish song was on my list of favorites, and they all laughed! I asked what was so funny, and one of them said hesitantly, “It’s just not the kind of song we would have pictured you listening to!”

Then there was the year someone submitted the wrong song by mistake, but I left it in the list anyway, and it ended up winning! The song? Party in the USA. Everyone else I asked said they had heard it too many times and they were sick of it, but it was new to me and I loved it!

Some songs I would never have paid attention to if I’d only listened to them once, but repeated listening turned them into favorites. That happened with a blues song by Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The song’s groove was really compelling but first it had to get into my head enough to stick.

I love doing survivor playlists because there’s so much good music out there that I never knew about -- I mean, how did I never hear Blue (Da-ba-dee) before?! It would be tragic to have missed that!